Interview with Simone Rancan

Face2Face
Simone Rancan
Simone Rancan
CEO, SMIT
Santex Rimar Group
Santex Rimar Group

We see growth potential in South-east & Central Asia, India
Established in 1938, Italian company SMIT is one of the leading manufacturers of weaving machines globally. In April 2016 SMIT officially entered the brands of the Santex Rimar Group headquartered in Trissino, Vicenza, Italy. According to Giulio Mandruzzato, technical director of the group's textile division, the enterprise's goal is to develop innovative solutions in the whole production process that allows customers to be more efficient and profitable. SMIT CEO Simone Rancan discusses the latest weaving technologies and the company's plans post acquisition.

What is the size of the global market for weaving machines? At what rate is it growing?

The global market for weaving machines in different weaving technologies is now approaching a size in the range of $2-3 billion. Textile weaving is the industry's largest product segment and is estimated to be worth 42.5 per cent of the industry revenues in 2017-18. Wool weaving is estimated to be worth 9.4 per cent, while synthetic yarn and artificial filament weaving (including nylon weaving) counts for approximately 17.3 per cent of the industry revenues. Other weaving, including silk, cotton and glass fibre, comprises approximately 15.8 per cent.

What is the USP of SMIT weaving machines?

The technology characterising SMIT production includes weaving machines with rapier weft insertion for high production textile volumes and customised solutions for the production of special technical fabrics. The USP of our machines are unmatched flexibility provided by cutting edge technology, reliability and high retention rate of existing customers.

What are the company's growth strategies after Santex Rimar Group acquired SMIT under its portfolio?

SMIT is taking advantage of the worldwide presence of the Santex Rimar Group, leveraging on new markets as well as strengthening the presence in the existing markets. Moreover, SMIT is now belonging to a group which has the widest portfolio of the textile machinery business and can understand better customers' needs looking at the complete production process.

What are the latest innovations in SMIT's air-weft and rapier-weft technologies?

Right now SMIT is focused on the rapier technology and we are exploiting the potential of the 'free flight' weft transfer technology. Improvements in the electronics and software of the machines guided by Industry 4.0 requirements are in the pipeline as well to improve the bottom line of our customers.

Which key factors drive the global weaving machines market?

Flexibility. 'Fast-fashion' is the major trend among retailers and consequently, is a trend for our customers as well. Besides this, there is always a strong attention to invest in machines that can offer a good mix between low maintenance costs, high productivity, Industry 4.0 applications and low energy consumption. SMIT weaving machines are the right investment if these points are taken into consideration.

From which countries is the demand most for your weaving machines?

We have customers based all over the world, but the main markets are definitely China, Bangladesh, India and Turkey.

Where are your manufacturing units located?

SMIT is manufacturing exclusively in Italy. Our lean production is based in Trissino next to Santex Rimar Group headquarters and we are growing very fast.

What trends and challenges have an impact on the growth of weaving machines?

Data mining and management (Industry 4.0), rapid changes in market requests (fast-fashion), and sustainability (low energy consumption and no-waste generation) are the major trends impacting growth.

Which are your major markets? Where do you see the potential for your product offerings growing?

Our major markets reflect the main global markets. We see potential to grow, especially in South-East Asia, India and some Central Asian countries.

Please share details of the last two fiscal years and your expectations for the next two years?

As SMIT just fully restarted its operations under the Santex Rimar Group, the previous figures have little relevance. We expect to grow at a double-digit pace in the next two years and reach the levels of the best historical years of SMIT by 2020.

What is your annual R&D budget? Any recent or upcoming projects you would like to discuss?

The budget allocated is in the order of 5 per cent in line with the Santex Rimar group policy. We have a range of R&D projects in the pipeline. Some of the products will be ready for the market during the second half of 2018. We see a big transformation of the weaving machines in coming years, thanks to several technological enablers. (HO)
Published on: 28/12/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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